Thursday, November 29, 2007

Contemplative Youth Ministry

I don't normally like posting quotes in my blog and I especially don't feel comfortable with quoting a book that I am only 40 pages of the way through. However, I really wanted to post the following quote of a book I'm reading now because (a) I think it's so spot on it hurts and (b) if I wait until I've finished the book...well I will probably never finish the book because I never do. Anyway, this is from Mike Yaconelli's "Contemplative Youth Ministry":

Most ministries with youth in the West are ministries of anxiety. In fact, most Christian communities don't even consider the spiritual needs of young people until there's a critical mass of anxious adults. Look behind most youth ministry programmes and you'll find pastors and church boards nervous about declining memberships, parents afraid their kids lack morals, congregations worried that the Christian faith has become irrelevant to younger generations, and the persistent frustration among adults that something ('anything!') needs to be done with 'those kids'! To be unaware of adult anxiety toward youth is often to misperceive what drives most youth ministries.


Young people are about energy; they have bodies they want to move, they have emotions they want to express, and they have developing relationships that are incredibly interesting and important to them. Adults - especially in a faith community - want young people to listen, to behave, to be still, to stop talking, to soothe adult fears, to fulfil mission statements and support programmes. This makes young people wary and anxious.

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